|By Roger Strukhoff||
|September 15, 2013 06:57 PM EDT||
In our research over the past couple of years, we've looked at 14 countries in Latin America. The three top performers are Chile, Uruguay, and Costa Rica. The first two of these also rank ahead of the United States. Chile also manages to squeak into our global Top 25, just behind Austria and just ahead of Romania.
There is a significant drop-off after Latin America's first three. Brazil, for example, ranks 4th in the region yet only 56th in the world. The region's top five is completed by Panama. Trailing the region are Argentina, Paraguay, and Venezuela.
Our mission is to examine national IT environments on a relative basis, and over the long term, gauge their effect on improving economies and the lives of people. We integrate a number of publicly available technology and socio-economic factors to create our rankings.
By integrating them in our uniquely weighted way, then adjusting for local cost of living, we develop relative measures that show how well a nation is doing with the resources it has. This strongly differentiates our methodology from traditional methods in which wealthier countries invariably outrank the less wealthy.
Thus, a small yet relatively dynamic country such as Costa Rica can outrank the Brazilian behemoth, which despite its economic progress is riddled with serious challenges. Costa Rica, in fact, also outranks better known developing countries Malaysia, China, South Africa, and Mexico.
In addition to our overall ranking, we've developed a "raw" ranking that focuses more heavily on technology, less heavily on socio-economics. In Latin America, the leaders in this ranking are Bolivia, Honduras, and Ecuador. The first two of these have per-person income levels far below most of their neighbors.
Yet Bolivia has shown potential by reaching 30% of its population with the Internet - giving it the highest ratio of access-to-income in the region and making the world's Top 10 in this category. Honduras, for its part, is 2nd in the region in this category and has relatively high average bandwidth, given its income level.
Another way to look at things is by income tier. This enables, for example, countries in Latin America to be compared with countries of similar income in other parts of the world. Chile and Uruguay fall into our second tier (per capita income between US$13,000-$30,000), and fall in the middle of this pack. Countries with which they compete closely in this tier include Poland, Hungary, Slovenia, and Portugal.
Costa Rica falls into our third income tier (between $6,000-$13,000), and is closing in on Turkey for 4th place among the 19 countries in this group. Our fourth income tier (between $2,000-$6,000) shows Honduras in the middle of the pack.
There are thousands of ways to view our information, and to gain insight from it. We are happy to engage anyone who's interested in learning more. And as I often say, this is not a precision engineering project - rather, it is a social-science project that aims to start conversations and improve things generally. We believe in the strength of our assumptions, algorithms, and rankings, but believe that interpreting and acting upon them is what's important.
Countries that lead can focus on what they're already doing and where they'd like to go. Countries that lag can see what needs to be done for them to improve. We believe there is resident potential in all nations of the world.